• Democurmudgeon: Thomas Frank on why, after the GOP Tanked the Global Economy, did Voters Sweep GOP back into Office?

    It’s the question I still don’t have an answer too.

    This Rachel Maddow interview is jammed packed with every common sense question many of us had after the 2010 GOP landslide. In some way, its nice to know you aren’t the only one stumped by the voting public’s Bizarro World choice.

    In fact, Thomas Frank doesn’t have any explanation either. But its the mystifying reality of going back to the scoundrels who got us to this low economic point in the first place that Frank and Maddow, in a funny way, try to answer. Highly recommended:

  • America’s Unlevel Field –

    Last month President Obama gave a speech invoking the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt on behalf of progressive ideals — and Republicans were not happy. Mitt Romney, in particular, insisted that where Roosevelt believed that “government should level the playing field to create equal opportunities,” Mr. Obama believes that “government should create equal outcomes,” that we should have a society where “everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort and willingness to take risk.”

    As many people were quick to point out, this portrait of the president as radical redistributionist was pure fiction. What hasn’t been as widely noted, however, is that Mr. Romney’s picture of himself as a believer in a level playing field is just as fictional. [read on…]

  • An interesting tool to look at polling data:  2012 Election: Presidential Poll Tracker –
  • Matt Stoller takes aim, misses wildly | Hullabaloo  (the emphasis is mine) (thanks to Ryking- Like the scientific method, Liberalism is not a…)

    Like the scientific method, Liberalism is not a creed seeking dominance but a system of thought that attempts to alleviate oppression and exploitation wherever possible, providing equality of opportunity and a minimum standard of living to everyone, thus ensuring basic human dignity and the ability to better one’s station in life.If providing those things were possible without the use of force or even laws, that would be fine. In cases where human behavior is self-guided and does not create oppression over others (e.g., mutually consenting sexual activity, the right to choose, marijuana usage, etc.) liberalism stands aside, shattering the use of force or law that curtails human freedom.Where human behavior does inevitably create oppression (and it most certainly does), liberalism seeks first and foremost to implement laws, legitimized by the consent of the governed, to regulate against that oppression. The use of force is a last resort, and is only necessary to enforce the law, or to act in the most egregious circumstances of oppression where domestic law will not reach.

    Dominance is not part of the liberal program. Far from it. Remember the basic dictum: power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Dominance corrupts, even liberal dominance. That’s part of what went wrong with totalitarian communism: too much dominance by ostensibly leftist ideologues who were allowed to maximize their own power at the expense of others. The program of liberalism is not about putting dominant people in charge, so much as about creating self-regulating systems of government that function for the benefit of people regardless of the who is temporarily in charge.

    [read on…l

  • Thomas Frank on the evolution of the Republican party line in the face of continued economic turmoil – Countdown with Keith Olbermann // Current TV

    “Countdown” guest host David Shuster and Thomas Frank, author of “Pity the Billionaire” and columnist at Harper’s Magazine, discuss how Republican rhetoric has shifted since the 2008 election to the point where their message is that even more economic deregulation is needed to reach equilibrium. According to Frank, “the Republican Party took a sharp turn to the right,” managing to appeal to the conservative base in the guise of “a sort of hard-times movement, by pretending to be a populist movement.”

Politics — Mitt Romney

Politics — Ron Paul

The unbelievalby idiotic libertarian utopian vision that is Ron Paul…

Politics — Health Care

  • Payment Where Payment’s Due

    The uninsured cost the health-care system $120 billion a year. All the individual mandate does is make them pay for it.

    The Republicans who argue that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) violates the Constitution have based their argument around the idea that it would be a remarkable new expansion of federal power that would lead us on a path to total government tyranny. As the brief filed by the Obama administration in defense of the ACA makes clear, however, the mandate to purchase insurance in fact falls squarely within the framework of federal power the Supreme Court has consistently advanced since the New Deal. It’s a clear explanation of the history and goals of the legislation and the relevant constitutional issues that everyone interested in this important question should read.

    Arguments against the ACA center around the assertion that the bill’s requirement that most individuals obtain health insurance or pay a tax penalty goes beyond the power Congress has under Article I Section 8 to regulate “interstate commerce.”[read on…]

Economics & the Economy

Critical Thinking Logic & Debate

  • Rationally Speaking: Rationally Speaking encore: How to change a mind — by Massimo Pigliucci

    Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner’s Changing Minds deals with that fundamental aspect of the human condition: our willingness (or, more often, unwillingness) to change mind about an issue. As somebody who is a professional educator and spends an inordinate amount of time keeping a blog, I’m keenly interested in Gardner’s book. While not earth shattering, Changing Minds provides a series of interesting insights, presented in very readable prose.

    Gardner’s idea is to examine mind changing at different “scales,” from the level of political leaders having to convince a whole nation, to university presidents intent on selling radical reforms to colleagues and students, to the more intimate settings of conversations with friends and loved ones, and finally to changing our own mind. As Gardner points out, these situations require different approaches and display distinct dynamics, chiefly because of the nature of the interaction between the parties.

    The basic premise of Gardner’s book, however, applies to all levels of analysis: there are specific, recognizable elements that play a role in any successful change of mind. Irritatingly (though Gardner seems to think this is actually a plus), all keywords used in this context begin with “r,” which makes it very difficult to r-emember them. Anyhow, here they are:


  • Skeptic » Doubtful News » Mystery of the severed feet may be solved: Selection bias
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